Doctor Thomas and Group at SouthSide Hospital

Our mission

The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Literacy drives North Shore-LIJ’s mission to foster an environment that supports principles of equity, diversity, inclusion and effective communication. Diversity, inclusion and health literacy strategies and principles are essential to transforming the health and wellness of all populations.

As one of the leading healthcare organizations in the country with facilities located throughout the most diverse communities in New York, North Shore-LIJ is proud to employ a highly diverse workforce and is dedicated to weaving diversity, inclusion and health literacy into the fabric of our organization.

Our number one value is to put patients first. We uphold that value by understanding and respecting our patients’ beliefs as well as their cultural, religious and language needs and practices. At every level of our organization, we encourage team members to embrace our differences.

Awards and recognition

Internal culture

As the surrounding communities have become more diverse, North Shore-LIJ has identified Diversity, Inclusion and Health Literacy as core characteristics of our organization, and key components to North Shore-LIJ’s mission to provide quality care. This means advancing cultural and linguistic competence and promoting effective communication to eliminate health disparities and enhance patient outcomes.

Our commitment

North Shore-LIJ Health System has partnered with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) to launch a Dignity and Respect Campaign to all employees across the organization. The campaign, developed in partnership with UPMC, was introduced to senior leadership in August 2011 and implementation soon followed. Champions were identified from each system hospital to rollout the Campaign. A Diversity, Inclusion and Health Literacy System Council was established and each hospital provided three quality metrics which includes the number of Dignity & Respect Pledges taken throughout the workforce.

“The support of North Shore-LIJ senior leadership and the executive directors throughout our Health System is key and vital to the success and integration of the Dignity & Respect Campaign. We continue to encourage, support, and have open dialogue with our hospitals and employees,” Dr. Mieres says.

North Shore-LIJ Health System embraces all the differences within its organization and feels that the Campaign is an important tool in recognizing those differences. Dr. Mieres explains, “We respect and appreciate the individuality that exists within our organization and we will continue our efforts to integrate the Dignity & Respect Campaign into the fabric of our health system.”

“The first step is to develop an awareness of our unconscious biases and then to make a commitment to incorporate dignity and respect into everything we do, every day. This is evident in our leadership and throughout our workforce at North Shore- LIJ,” Dr. Mieres says.

Business Employee Resource Groups

North Shore-LIJ recognizes the differences within our employee and community populations and has identified diversity and inclusion as key components to North Shore-LIJ’s mission to provide quality health care to our patients, families and communities we serve.

Through the formation of Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs), North Shore-LIJ is strategically positioning itself to achieve success in multiple arenas – from proactively driving forward a culture of wellness, to responding to the increasingly diverse needs of our patients, workforce, and communities.

The creation of Business Employee Resource Groups is a national best practice and is expected to create positive results across all three of the organization’s main success indicators: patient experience, financial performance, and quality, in addition to functioning as a key driver in the Health System’s development plans.

BERG objectives leading to high quality patient care and community wellness include:
• Driving employee engagement
• Enhancing talent recruitment, retention and development
• Serving as ambassadors to internal/external communities

BERGs cultivate an environment for innovative ideas to strengthen our community partnerships, build a pipeline of diverse talent, and increase our reach to new and existing markets, ensuring the delivery of culturally sensitive quality patient care.

One of our BERGs, known as "BRIDGES", has been developed with the mission to strengthen community partnerships, enhance communication and patient cultural sensitivity. Founding members at North Shore University Hospital include patient caregivers, chaplaincy, service excellence representatives, and public relations.

Watch the following videos and hear firsthand about our supportive work environment.

Employee education

The Center for Learning and Innovation offers a variety cultural diversity courses.

Cultural Diversity: Enhancing Patient-Centered Care

Diversity is the mosaic of people who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values and beliefs as assets to the groups and organizations with which they interact. Inclusion is an environment where each person feels, welcomed, respected, supported and valued as a team member. Join us to learn how Diversity and Inclusion are important to patients, families, communities and employees of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Quality Interactions ®

Quality Interactions® is an E-learning program that provides case-based instruction on cross-cultural communication and care. This one-hour interactive program available to North Shore-LIJ physicians, nurses and case managers, will assist the learner in developing their knowledge and skills while enhancing effective communication with diverse populations. Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits earned upon completion.

Health Literacy Online Education Program

This online course highlights:

  • Background on health literacy and its importance
  • Oral communication techniques you can apply today for more effective patient-provider communication
  • The "Teach-Back" technique
  • Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and cultural sensitivity
  • "Before and after" videos on patient provider interactions
  • Guidelines for writing using plain language
  • Defining and measuring “readability”


This comprehensive resource is available to North Shore-LIJ employees who are interested in developing their cultural knowledge. The information provided should not be used in a stereotypical manner. It is intended to provide you with information to help you anticipate your patients’ needs and guide your conversations. This resource provides accurate, up-to-date information on 47 cultural groups, which include the following topics:

  • Communication
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Family patterns, beliefs, religion and spirituality
  • Treatment protocols and ethno–pharmacological issues

Can We Talk?

Each month a different topic within the overall theme of effective communication, cultural competence and patient and family-centered care will be highlighted in an effort to establish consistent communication across the Health System.


Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, FACC, FANC, FAHA

  • Senior Vice President Office of Community and Public Health
  • Professor of Cardiology & Population Health,
    Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine
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Barbara Felker

  • Vice President, Diversity & Community Engagement,
    Office of Community and Public Health
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